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Blender 2.5 Character Animation Cookbook

Virgilio Vasconcelos

With this highly focused book you’ll learn how to bring your characters to life using Blender, employing everything from realistic movement to refined eye control. Written in a user-friendly manner, it’s the only guide dedicated to this subject.
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Book Details

ISBN 139781849513203
Paperback308 pages

About This Book

  • Learn how to create efficient and easy to use character rigs
  • Understand and make your characters , so that your audience believes they're alive
  • See common approaches when animating your characters in real world situations
  • Learn the techniques needed to achieve various setups, from IK-FK blending to corrective shape keys and eyes controllers
  • The only book to cover advanced aspects of working with character animation in Blender.


Who This Book Is For

Blender users who already know the basics of adding, modeling and rendering objects within the program, but are eager to learn how to turn a character's mesh into a living creature.


Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Get Rigging
Defining good orientations for your bones
Using separate bone chains for different tasks
Customizing shapes and colors for your bones
Using corrective shape keys
Making an IK-FK switcher
Tips on weight painting your character
Chapter 2: Rigging the Torso
How to create a stretchy spine
Rigging the pelvis
Making your character breathe
Controlling the neck and head
Chapter 3: Eying Animation
How to control where your characters look at
The eyelids controllers
Controlling the pupils
Chapter 4: Poker Face? Facial Rigging
Adding expressions using Shape Keys
Face controls with lattices
Creating the jaw controller
Controlling your tongue
Chapter 5: Hands Down! The Limbs Controllers
Controlling fingers
Creating IK legs with a three-pivot foot
Stretch those limbs!
Setting up the shoulders
Cartoon bending for arms and legs
Different spaces for IK hands
Chapter 6: Blending with the Animation Workflow
Animating in layers
Changing between FK and IK in a shot
Grasping and throwing objects
Silhouette and mirrored rendering
Tracking animation arcs
Using video for background reference
Working with linked assets and characters
Non-linear animation
Chapter 7: Easy to Say, Hard to Do: Mastering the Basics
Adjusting and tracking the timing
Spacing: favoring and easing poses
Anticipating an action
Using squash and stretch
Breaking the symmetry
Chapter 8: Shake That Body: The Mechanics of Body Movement
Animating a tennis serve
Heavy metal
Glory for your team: kicking the ball
Run, Forrest! (in cycles)
Chapter 9: Spicing it Up: Animation Refinement
It's time for secondary actions
Hold, but not still: using moving holds
Animating characters with appendages
Like clay: refining with the AniSculpt technique
Chapter 10: Drama King: Acting in Animation
In the blink of an eye
Walking with style
Talking heads (and bodies)

What You Will Learn

  • Refine your animation with Blender tools
  • Understand principles behind movements like walking, running, jumping and weight lifting
  • Stay productive with an organized animation workflow
  • Create flexible face rigs with a mixed approach
  • Learn how to stretch the arms, legs and spine of your characters
  • Create corrective shape keys
  • Fine control your character's eyes
  • Switching between IK and FK for arms and legs in a shot
  • Create an IK foot setup with 3 pivots
  • How to track your animation arcs and timing


In Detail


Blender is an open source 3D graphics application that can be used for modeling, rigging, animating, rendering and thousands of other things. While modeling characters isn't the biggest of your worries, animating them to make them feel as-good-as alive is what differentiates a professional from an amateur.

This book offers clear, illustrative, and easy-to-follow recipes to create character rigs and animations for common situations. Bring your characters to life by understanding the principles, techniques and approaches involved in creating rigs and animations, you'll be able to adapt them to your own characters and films.

The book offers clear step-by-step tutorials, with detailed explanations, screenshots and support files to help you understand the principles behind each topic. Each recipe covers a logical step of the complete creation of a character rig and animation, so you're not overwhelmed with too much information at once.

You'll see numerous examples and screenshots that guide to achieve various rigging and animation tasks, logically separated so you can understand each in detail. The rigging topics are divided by each region of the body (torso, limbs, face, eyes), and further separated by the specific topic (neck, fingers, mouth, eyelids, etc) for clarity. All rigging tasks are accomplished with the built-in tools in Blender, without the complexity of coding custom Python behaviors or user interface elements.

The animation topics deal with common situations found in real world productions, showing good practices to understand and overcome the challenges.


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